Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.
To reduce chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):
- Always place your baby down on his/her back to sleep – the CDC says this is the number one way to reduce the risk of SIDS
- Use the back sleep position every time – a baby who usually sleeps on his/her back but is placed on his/her stomach for a nap is at very high risk for SIDS – according to the CDC
- Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as a safety-approved crib mattress covered with a fitted sheet
- Never place your baby to sleep on a pillow, quilt, sheepskin, or other soft surface
- Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby‚Äôs sleep area
- Don‚Äôt use pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, or pillow-like bumpers in your baby‚Äôs sleep area
- Keep all items away from the baby‚Äôs face
- Avoid letting your baby overheat during sleep – dress your baby in light sleep clothing and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult
- Do not allow smoking around your baby. Don‚Äôt smoke before or after the birth of your baby, and don‚Äôt let others smoke around your baby.
- Keep your baby‚Äôs sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep
- Don’t let your baby sleep in a bed or on a couch or armchair with adults or other children – he/she can sleep in the same room as you
- If you bring your baby into bed with you to breastfeed, when finished put him/her back in a separate sleep area, such as a bassinet, crib, cradle, or a bedside cosleeper (infant bed that attaches to an adult bed)
- Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing the infant down to sleep, but don‚Äôt force your baby to take it – if you are breastfeeding your baby, wait until your child is 1 month old or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier
- Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS – most have not been tested for effectiveness or safety
- Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS – if you have questions about using monitors for other conditions, talk to your health care provider
- When your baby is awake and someone is watching, place your baby on his/her stomach to help his/her head, neck and shoulder muscles get stronger and to help prevent flat spots on his/her head – also, to help prevent flat spots on his/her head, avoid too much time in car seats, carriers, and bouncers
- For more info: CDC
- Use a firm, tight-fitting mattress so baby can’t get trapped between the mattress and the crib
- Ensure no missing, loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets, or other hardware on the crib or mattress support
- Avoid cribs that are assembled wrong, have missing, loose or broken hardware or broken slats can result in entrapment or suffocation deaths – infants can strangle when their head and neck become entrapped in gaps created by missing, loose or broken hardware or broken slats.
- Ensure no more than 2 3/8 inches (about the width of a soda can) between the crib slats so a baby’s body can’t fit through the slats; no missing or cracked slats
- Ensure no corner posts over 1/16th inch high so a baby’s clothing can’t catch
- Ensure no cutouts in the headboard or foot board so a baby’s head can’t get trapped.
For mesh-sided cribs and playpens:
- Ensure the mesh is less than ¬º inch in size, smaller than the tiny buttons on a baby’s clothing
- Ensure the mesh has no tears, holes or loose threads which could entangle a baby
- Ensure mesh securely attached to the top rail and floor plate
- Ensure top rail cover has no tears or holes
- Ensure that if staples are used, they are not missing, loose or exposed